Hornets Sale: New Owner, Key Players Have New Orleans Back on the Rise

Danny Webster@@DannyWebster21Analyst IIIApril 13, 2012

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - DECEMBER 18:   (L-R) New Orleans Saints owners Tom Benson and Rita Benson LeBlanc greet fans during the pregame against the Minnesota Vikings at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome on December 18, 2011 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  (Photo by Adam Bettcher /Getty Images)
Adam Bettcher/Getty Images

To everyone down in New Orleans: You're so lucky you'll get the chance to celebrate Mardi Gras twice in one year.

As of now, you no longer need to feel any sense of anger regarding what might happen to your beloved Saints this upcoming football season. Because that other professional team you have down in the Big Easy just got a big bolt of energy in the biggest way.

Saints owner Tom Benson purchased the NBA-operated New Orleans Hornets today for the price of $338 million, finally ending the biggest colossal ownership screw-up in the history of sports.

I can hear the band playing down Bourbon Street as I type this. Yes, all the way from Las Vegas. It's that loud and happy over there.

David Stern is no longer running a franchise that went from taking the Los Angeles Lakers to six games in the first round of the playoffs last season, to trading away their best player in franchise history (not counting the days in Charlotte) and residing in NBA mediocrity for this condensed season, and probably beyond.

But Hornets fans no longer need to worry about that possibility.

Now that the team has a solidified owner, even at the young age of 84, Benson knows all about bringing success to a franchise that's struggling to find their way to the top. And looking at what he's done with the Saints since the devastation that was Hurricane Katrina, he's brought that franchise one of the best quarterbacks in the league and a Super Bowl title.

Not bad for a day's work.

This doesn't mean that Benson will come in and put together a foundation that will put the Hornets in title contention within the next five or six years. But looking beyond to the future, with a quality core of players and a more-than-likely lottery pick coming in for next year, New Orleans could get back to being a consistent playoff team in the coming years.

While discussing the trade of Chris Paul could take another 1,000 words in of itself, it would be pointless to do so now. CP3 is gone and a new regime is taking over.

Monty Williams established last year that he is a quality coach in this league. Many believe that after the start the Hornets got off to last year, he should've been Coach of the Year. With a clear head of everything that went on and about to be in his third year in the league, he will have the team ready to go.

And don't forget those players that the Hornets acquired from the Los Angeles Clippers for Paul. With the exception of Chris Kaman, who has seemed more like trade bait as the season has gone on, the two young stars that could put NOLA on the map, if healthy, Eric Gordon and Al-Farouq Aminu have the utmost potential to be All-Stars in this league.

It would've been nice to see what the Hornets could've done this year if Gordon stayed healthy for the giant portion of the season, and it would be a shame to label him as an injury-prone player this early in his career. But for someone who has the ability to score from anywhere on the floor, and with decent play-making skills, Gordon is the true cornerstone of this franchise.

Even some of the veterans showed they could make a difference in the long term of the future. Guys like Jarrett Jack, who continues to prove that he's a talented point guard, even if it seems like he's been in the league for decades. Emeka Okafor was a nice player when CP3 was in New Orleans, but the former No. 1 overall pick is still young and can still be a difference maker in the paint.

If the Hornets could grab a power forward in the draft, maybe someone like Jared Sullinger, then the team would be complete. This is all depending, of course, if New Orleans wants to bring back Carl Landry after this year for maybe a shorter contract. If not, Sullinger at 6'10" would be a great compliment in the lineup next to Okafor or Aaron Gray.

So rejoice, Hornets fans. The days of glory you witnessed first hand prior to all of this might be finally coming that.

Who knows? The Hornets might even reach better days of glory than ever before when all is said and done.